Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith was a guest speaker at Scott's meeting today and Scott recorded his presentation to the group. It is kind of funny, because near the end of his presentation he tells the group about a Bear Bryant quote and then he can't remember it. Someone from the audience passes him a piece of paper to help remind him. Emmitt cleverly quotes some scripture, as well. He said that "Faith without works is dead." Scott said that it is very rare that their speakers are willing and/or able to do such a thing. Of course, he didn't mention the source.

Days 9 & 10

Scott has been in meetings both today and yesterday. The kids have behaved well enough, considering it is really too cold to go outside. The temperature has been in the low teens.

We are staying at the Walnut Grove campground. Their web site is:


This is a pretty small camground, but the proximity to downtown K.C. made it perfect for use. Scott's commute is about 15 minutes each way. They have wi-fi and laundry facilities that we have taken advantage of. The park is almost full, but we really haven't seen much of the other residents. It is too cold for people to be out walking around. We have only encountered people in the laundry room and during a walk around the camp on our first day here. That day, we met a couple with a small child named Miles. The man was from Clarksville, TN and the woman was from a northern state. The man said that he travels alot with his job and they bought a travel trailer when Miles was born, so the family could all be together. How great!

We will be leaving here tomorrow. Scott's meeting should be over at 1:00. He said that it will probably be after that, because the leaders are "long-winded" and like to pontificate beyond their scheduled speaking times. He must return our rented van before we leave, also. If all goes well, we hope to leave around 2:00 p.m. If so, we should be able to make it to somewhere near St. Louis by bed time. Scott said that, if he feels really eager, he may drive all night and make it back to Tennessee.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Video from our stay in Fieldon, IL

Day 8

Today we went to church at Vista Baptist Church in Olathe Kansas. This church was recommended to us by a church member at the church where we are currently members. She was a member at this church, before moving to Tennessee. The people were very welcoming and we enjoyed the Pastor's sermon.

After church, we went to lunch at Popeye's chicken and biscuits. We really need to eat healthier and this lunch reminded us of that. It is so difficult to eat healthy, when you are going out to eat. It seems like the only healthy options at most places are horrid tasting options.

We had hoped to return for the evening service at Vista, but Scott had to pick up a coworker from the airport and he did not return in time.

Noah has been complaining that we haven't been reading the Bible long enough, before bed time. So, Scott read extra long tonight. He asked Noah if it was long enough and Noah said that it still was not. Since becoming a Christian, Noah's thirst for the word of God and his spiritual awareness have been ignited. He is only six, but he is very intuitive in his faith. It is amazing for us to watch, because we recall our spiritual ignorance, at his age.

We used part of the evening for laundry and cleaning. Scott called an old friend who had been on his mind and learned that she and her husband are contemplating a mission trip to Africa. They have never been on a mission trip before, so this could be the start of something great. His unsolicited advice was, "If you are being called to do it, you better do it." I think many people avoid mission trips or definitely mission trips to specific countries (i.e. Syria, Iraq, Israel, & etc.), because of fear for their physical safety. I know I would be afraid to go, if I was called to one of those "difficult" countries. However, as we heard the mother of a missionary who has moved his entire family of 8 to a country in the middle east, "You are no safer than when you are in the will of God."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Day 7

It was another rough night. Elijah asked for a drink every 30 minutes all night long. Noah had a fever. It seems like we just pass illness around the family until everyone has been sick.

We looked in Elijah's throat. His tonsils looked worse. We decided this time to take him to the Kansas City Mercy Children's Hospital Urgent Care Clinic. We were there for a good 4 hours. However, they were so much more professional than the "Minute Clinic". We really felt more at ease after Elijah was seen by the professionals there.

One nurse asked Elijah if his belly was full. He said that it was. She asked him what he had eaten. Elijah told her that he couldn't tell her, because it was "top secret". She laughed. She commented about how curly his hair was and he told her how Scott is going to cut all the curls off.

After we left the clinic, we went for fast food. Elijah and Gloria were already asleep. We just let them rest. Nicholas got sick while we were in the drive thru line and had to throw up. We think he was just car sick. He gets that way.

We were looking for something to do after eating that would work off some energy and that would be indoors. We decided to go to a local mall. We don't go to malls often and we kind of forget what goes on there. It never ceases to amaze me. The temperature was in the 20's, but the skirts were micro-mini skirts. Do these girls not have fathers?

We had to distract the kids while we walked past the Victoria's Secret store. I seem to recall about ten years ago that they sold relatively tasteful lingerie. That's not the case anymore. They have very graphic life-size pictures for passers-by to see. So many of the people roaming the mall swear like sailors. There is constant yelling. I knew there was a reason that we don't go to the mall much. If you want to see evidence of the decline of Western Civilization, visit the mall.

We ended the evening making cookies and washing clothes. Elijah & Gloria held hands and watched a Casting Crowns DVD. They were very sweet. It was a priceless sight.

Day 6

Elijah ran a high fever for most of the night. We decided to take him to a walk-in clinic. We found a local "Minute Clinic" in a Kansas City CVS pharmacy. The nurse practicioner noticed that his tonsils were very enlarged and had pus on them. The poor little guy didn't even say that his throat hurt. She performed a strep test, but the result was negative. Still, she prescribed him antibiotics, based on the assumption that the negative strep test was incorrect. Our pediatrician in Tennessee returned our phone call and suggested that he would not use the antibiotic, because he thought it was likely a viral infection. I have to say, I was a little nervous with the whole "Minute Clinic" experience. The lady was as nice as could be, but she kept having to look at a corporate training book while she diagnosed him and recommended treatment. Call me crazy, but I don't like to see my medical health professionals using flowcharts for diagnosis.

Anyway, later that day we relocated to an RV park much nearer to downtown K.C. The Walnut Grove RV park is about 15 minutes from downtown. We rented a mini-van for me to drive to my meetings next week and so we could "run around" locally, without having to unhook the RV.

I went to a grocery store called "Hen House". They had half gallons of milk for sale in glass containers. It was nostaligic looking, so I bought one. Supposedly, the milk was from happy cows who were not given antibiotics or hormones. The milk tastes the same as that from regular hormonal and antibiotic-filled bovine.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day 5

We awoke to the sight of deer playing outside of the RV. Well, neither of us adults saw them, but all of the kids swear that they were there. After we left the park, we drove along the river road. Grafton Illinois is advertised as "home of the wintering eagles". We pulled over and tried to spot our national bird. We had given up and were preparing to pull away, when Nicholas claimed to have spotted one. We were sure that he was mistaken, until we saw the white head. It was really neat and we snapped several pictures. We crossed the Illinois river at Alton and saw a bridge that we had once seen a TV special about the building of. Bridges are a little frightening, when you are driving a 35' RV. You just look out the window and see nothing but water far far below.

We drove toward Kansas City with the rest of the time in our day. The rest of the trip would have been uneventful, except we stopped for gas a little over an hour outside of K.C. We tried three gas stations, before we found one with functioning and accessible gas pumps. At the final gas station, we found a couple with two children who had locked their keys in their van. Scott tried to help get the keys out, while the lady and their two daughters stayed warm in the RV.

It turns out that the family is from China. The husband was originally from the U.S. They were very nice and we have his business card. We plan to e-mail them. Scott had just been reading about the Good Samaritan to the boys. What a great opportunity to put legs on the teachings of Christ.

Day 4

We spent the first half of the day with Jim and Alice. Elijah began to seem like he didn't feel well, so we took his temperature. He had a fever. We decided that we should probably leave a little early, rather than expose Jim and Alice further to a sick Elijah. We left Fieldon and headed toward St. Louis. We saw the local area that was flooded so badly in 1993. We decided to spend the night at the Pere Marquette State Park. We were the only campers at the campground. It was a nice place and we had dinner at the lodge. We were one of two groups having dinner at the lodge. We found out that Scott's friend and pastor, Dan, had decided to leave his position at the church. He said that he just felt like it was no longer in God's will. That was very disappointing to us. It is not our place to discern God's will in his life, but...

As we fell asleep, we heard Noah sobbing in his bed. He was not happy that Dan was leaving, either.

Day 3

On the third day of our trip, we spent more time visiting friends and family. We spent time and broke bread with our local hosts, Jim & Alice. We had planned to take the RV to town to visit a lady who practically raised Scott's father. When we went to move the RV, it didn't go anywhere. The snow had melted and refroze into a decent layer of ice. The weight of the RV caused the tires to sink somewhat into a depression in the ground. Scott had to rock the RV back and forth, until he could get it to move. This was a little stressful. We were parked close to a garage and Scott was more than a little afraid that we'd end up sliding into it. I guess 20,000 pound vehicles don't really slide easily, because we were able to get free without wreaking any havoc on the innocent garage.

We visited Gwen, the lady who practically raised Scott's Dad, that afternoon. It was a nice visit, but one that was somewhat difficult. Gwen has lost several loved ones, tragically. Scott's boyhood friend was Gwen's grandson. He killed himself the same year that Scott graduated high school. It was over a girl. I recall that age and how my persepective has changed, as I've grown older. It is so difficult when you have the hormones that a young person has and no persepective or wisdom to help guide you. Gwen lost another grandchild and her husband. Her grand daughter left behind a now teenage girl. She has many troubles. We know that only a divine intervention can suffice.

We met Scott's newly found cousin and his family for dinner at Pizza Hut. It was a nice dinner and Scott had an opportunity to hear something about his paternal family. Scott's Dad has never been one to talk much about his upbrining, other than to say his family was crazy. Scott's grandmother, it seems, was evil. This was how several different people who knew her described her. No one seems to want to elaborate too much. It is kind of scarey.

That night, we had popcorn with Jim & Alice. Gloria and Elijah especially like Jim. They think that he is very funny. Most small children don't see Jim, who is a pretty big guy with a deep voice and bald head, as "funny". Most small children probably are afraid that they will be dinner.

Scott didn't park the RV in the same place that night. He parked it in the street in front of their house. We didn't want a repeat of the slippery slopes incident.

Day 1 and 2

We left Tennessee on Sunday, after church and dinner with family. The weather was cold and wet. Travelling in an RV is definitely the least painless way that we have travelled with our children. When we need to pull over, we just pull over. There is no waiting for bathrooms, looking for places to eat, and etc.

We arrived in Jerseyville, IL sometime after 9:00 P.M. Jerseyville is just north of St. Louis, MO. This was the first time that we encountered snow on our trip. There was a good six inches of snow on the ground. We dry camped that night in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Jerseyville.

The next day we went to Fieldon. This is the small town where Scott was born. The family home, local elementary school, and general atmosphere had not changed much since they left in the early 80's. We stayed with family friends who are more like family than most family! They are a retired couple with four grown children. The oldest daughter went to school with Scott's father! They were kind enough to insist that we park the RV and stay at their house. The old family home was for sale, so we were able to roam around the yard and look in windows. Scott commented how much smaller the house seems now, than when he was a child. Scott's Dad did a lot of work to the home, when they were growing up. He remodeled it; adding an additional upstairs bedroom, a second bathroom, and windows in the second story. The house looks much that same as it did in 1980.

Despite the snow, classes were going on at the local school. We wandered in and were graciously allowed a tour. Scott went to Kindergarten and part of first grade at this school and his father attended this school from the time it opened until he graduated elementary school in the 50's.

We were very suprised that Scott's first grade teacher was still teaching at the school. She even remembered him! We would have thought that she was just being polite, but she recalled details of his time there. What a fabulous memory.

After leaving the school, we met a cousin of Scott's who he did not know existed until our visit. The man, his wife, and their children live right across the street from the school. He was very nice and recalled Scott's dad fondly, from his youth. Scott's family has not had contact with his father's side of the family for various vague and unknown reasons. There seems to be some family secret or series of secrets. We joked with this newly found cousin about it. He suggested that maybe their Dad's killed Kennedy or something.

Our travel to Illinois and first full day of visiting was very nice.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Planning for our trip

We have been in the "heat" of planning for our upcoming trip. We will leave Sunday after church and return not the next Sunday, but the Sunday after that. That's the plan, at least! Since we will miss two Wednesday nights, Scott has been busy creating notes for those nights. We don't want the youth to not meet, while we're gone. He is also making a lesson plan for the Sunday that we will miss.

Our trip will take us through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. We have picked out a few places that we'd like to see, but we're leaving most of the stops on the way to and from Scott's meeting (this is more or less a work trip) up to divine providence. We plan to take plenty of pictures and video to document our excursion. The weather has been a real mess there. Hopefully we can see some snow without getting stranded by it. In any case, we should be reasonably well prepared in our RV.

One of our stops will be in Fieldon, IL. This is the home where Scott's parents lived when he was born. They lived there until he turned 7. There are many fond and difficult memories associated with this place. The family moved from there after the economy took a downturn in the early 80's. Scott's Dad worked as a welder on the Mississippi river. He left for Texas to find work to support Scott, his mom, and his younger brother and sister. It was tough leaving that town and the old house that Scott's Dad had invested so much time and labor in renovating. It was tougher still being apart, while part of the family was in Texas and the rest were in Illinois. We still have some family friends there who we look forward to visiting.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

It's official...

Scott is now officially the "Minister of Students" at the church. Please pray for us, as we undertake this responsibility. This is obviously where God wants us to be at this time and we feel very blessed to have the opportunity to serve Him in this role. That being said, WOW... what a challenge. The youth today are exposed to so much more than the youth of a decade ago.

We have finished our study of "sex", for now. That was "trial by fire"! I believe some folks in the church were not thrilled that we included our junior high students in this study. Their thought was that these 7th & 8th graders were just "too young" for such a study. While they are entitled to their opinion, the truth is that those kids had already developed attitudes towards sex. We just gave them the biblical perspective. We were shocked that the only thing the youth didn't really know (or think they know) was what the Bible teaches about sex, marriage, etc....

We referenced a book called "And the Bride Wore White", by Dannah Gresh. I recommend it.

She had a funny observation. If you were an alien spending one day on this planet (no theological debate on the existence of aliens...it's just a story), you would be bombarded by sex and sexual topics so often and in so many places that you would think everyone is having it with everyone and at all times. Really, the only place that you aren't bombarded or at least confronted with sex is in church. Most churches just ignore the subject, much to the neglect of the church membership. God made it, but we made it a dirty thing.